The Temptation of a Proper Governess (Cameron Sisters Series #1)

The Temptation of a Proper Governess (Cameron Sisters Series #1)

by Cathy Maxwell

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Overview

Society dictates that a governessshould be modest, quiet, and keep to herself.

She should never contradict her employer.

And, above all, she must not attract the attention of any male in the household.

But Michael Severson doesn't see Isabel Halloran as a governess—he sees her as a woman, one whose lush curves cannot be hidden behind a dowdy gown ... and whose efforts at hiding her sparkling intelligence are betrayed by her wit.

Years before, Michael had left Regency England, falsely accused of a crime. Now he is back, dedicated to seeking retribution—but not to taking a bride. But when his scandalous actions compromise Isabel's reputation, he does the unthinkable and offers her his hand—a marriage in name only.

But although his bride's passions are untried, Isabel's sensuality clearly matches his own. And with each day, and night, that passes, Michael becomes determined that every kiss, every caress, will be made with one goal: to seduce his proper wife into tender submission.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061755323
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Cameron Sisters Series , #1
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 61,156
File size: 759 KB

About the Author

Cathy Maxwell spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness.  Fans can contact Cathy at www.cathymaxwell.com or P.O. Box 484, Buda, TX  78610.

Read an Excerpt

Temptation of a Proper Governess

Chapter One

March 1804

Miss Lillian Wardley's bed was empty. Isabel Halloran, her governess, greeted the sight with a combination of frustration and panic. Lillian had a reputation for being promiscuous. Curbing her wild ways was one of the duties Isabel had been hired to perform three months earlier.

Isabel did not need a clash of wills with Lillian tonight. She was fighting her own demons or rather, one demon, Lord Riggs, Richard, a man she once believed she'd loved until he had attempted to take her by force. He was a guest under this roof, and she was determined to avoid him. She didn't want him to know she was there. The pain of his betrayal was still too fresh. Isabel had no desire to be out wandering the halls, looking for her errant charge.

She should have known Lillian was up to something. The seventeen-year-old had been too quiet, too accommodating, and had excused herself far too early for bed that evening. Her unquestioning obedience was out of character and had disturbed Isabel enough for her to rise from her own bed, throw her brown day dress over her nightgown, and check on Lillian.

It was half past midnight ... and she had a sinking suspicion where Lillian might be.

Holding a protective hand around the candle flame, Isabel hurried across the hall to knock on Nanny's door. It took more than one knock to disturb the older woman's sleep.

The door opened. "Miss Halloran, is there something with the children?" Nanny rasped, squinting at the candle flame. She had the care of Mr. Wardley's three younger children by his second wife, a very buxom former tavern girl with ambition to match her husband's.

"Lillian is missing."

"Missing?" Nanny repeated without comprehension.

"She's not in her bed. I need your help finding her."

Nanny came awake. "Oh, dear." She opened the door while she reached for her dressing gown hanging on a nearby nail. "The last time she did this we found her with the stable lad. 'Twas before your time. I know you've heard about it."

"I thought I was making progress with her."

"I thought so, too." Nanny slipped her arms into her gown, leaving her nightcap on her head. "The Master had the boy transported to Australia." Isabel had heard this story, but Nanny never tired of repeating it. "He begged for mercy, he did, but the Master would hear none of it. Them with the money makes the rules. That's what my mother used to say. Let's pray Miss Lillian's not got another young laddie in trouble."

"No, I think she has her sights set higher." Isabel started for the stairs at the end of the hall. Her nightly braid had come loose, but she wasn't going to waste time rebraiding it.

Nanny moved with surprising speed and caught Isabel's arm. "One of the guests? Why, the Master's friends are all rakes and scoundrels, even if they do have titles to their names. They'd gobble up a young girl, spit out her bones, and the Master wouldn't be able to do a thing about it."

"I know," Isabel answered. She couldn't an-swer for all of Mr. Wardley's guests, but Richard certainly fit that description.

"We could lose our positions."

"Yes." Isabel was relieved that Nanny grasped exactly what was at stake.

"We'd best hurry," the older woman said as she picked up a candle stub from the hall table and lit it off Isabel's. The two women hurried toward the stairs. "I wish the Master would marry Miss Lillian off as soon as possible. Yes, she's young, but she is going to come to grief with her wild ways."

Their master was Mr. Thomas Wardley, a merchant who had made his fortune brokering wool to the army and fancied his money could buy his way into Society. He was fond of expanding on how he was part of the "new social order," where a man didn't need a title to be accepted. But the servants knew he desperately wanted one; they often called him "Sir" Thomas behind his back.

And Isabel knew he was wrong about a new social order. The divide between the aristocracy and everyone else was deeper than the ocean. Richard had taught her that, just as he'd taught her that a title didn't make a man a gentleman. The five titled gentlemen visiting this week were supposedly there for hunting -- although no one had gone hunting yet. Instead, the downstairs reeked of port and brandy, and Nanny and Isabel had their hands full keeping the children away from bad influences.

The two women reached the floor where the guest bedrooms were. Candles in wall sconces had the area ablaze with light. Mr. Wardley might be stingy with his servants, but no expense was spared for guests.

Isabel paused. The footman who usually sat in a chair at the top of the stairs leading down to the main floor was missing from his post. She felt a cold suspicion.

The quiet of the hall was broken by a burst of boisterous male laughter drifting up the stairs from the dining room where the gentlemen liked to play cards. "They are having a rowdy good time tonight," Nanny muttered.

"I don't know why Mrs. Wardley tolerates it," Isabel said.

"The Mistress is usually down there with them."

Isabel frowned but feared she'd already said too much. A governess walked a fine line. She was a servant and yet had a higher standing than the others. It didn't help the situation that Isabel was not good at being subservient. Pride was her besetting sin, and she didn't like itwhen her employers pretended shewas invisible.

"You don't think Miss Lillian is down there with them?" Nanny wondered in round tones.

"No." Isabel studied the closed doors lining the hall. "Which room do you believe is Mr. Severson's?"

The mention of the man's name brought forth a gasp of horror from Nanny ... Temptation of a Proper Governess. Copyright © by Cathy Maxwell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Temptation of a Proper Governess (Cameron Sisters Series #1) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1803 Michael Severson accompanied by his blood brother Alex Haddon returns to England after spending a decade in Canada. If not for an honest judge, Michael would have hung for the murder of his actress lover Aletta Calendri; even his family believes he killed her. Now he plans to catch the killer starting with Lord Elswick who went after him with a vengeance; Michael believes Elswick felt his son Henry committed the act so diverted attention from his heir......................... When a host tries to trick Michael into marrying his teen daughter, the governess Isabel Halloran intervenes, but he begins seducing her instead. Michael does the right thing when they are caught together by marrying her. Initially he saw her as an avenue to get back at her father Elswick even if she is illegitimate. However, Michael soon falls in love with his pawn; she reciprocates, but refuses to believe he cares for her beyond using her as an expendable item............................ This entertaining Regency romance uses the over-killed theme of vengeance turning to love, but fans will still appreciate the fine story line due to the lead couple¿s struggles with their relationship and Michael¿s quest for who set him up to take the murder rap. Readers will admire Isabel from the moment she asks Michael if he killed Aletta and believes him when he says no. The support cast augments the prime plot as most including his beloved and his confident Alex (who has his own quest) think the worst of Michael, which makes the best for sub-genre readers...................... Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
Both the title and the description on the back of this novel are misleading. There is nothing particularly tempting nor romantic about Michael and Isabel's relationship, largely because there isn't a real one. They meet under rather contrived, somewhat cliche circumstances, they are attracted, they marry, and suddenly they are in love. They don't have any meaningful conversations. The whole first three quarters is shallow with their meeting and marriage taking up the larger portion but there is no sexual tension or emotional development. When Isabel becomes angry with her husband it's hard to sympathize. She feels betrayed by a man she loves but it's never established what basis is there for their feelings. Their sexual relationship is the entire substance and basis for the marriage and yet the reader is expected to believe that there is enough between them to warrant the kind of emotional melodrama that is half heartedly presented. Somewhere in the middle an excessive amount of pages is wasted on fashion.This doesn't help the plot in anyway, nor provide any insight. The point that is made about Wallis, hardly required such a great expenditure of words particularly since that point never ties in properly with the larger story and seems a vain attempt to define the character of a latecomer to the plot. The last quarter in which all is revealed, gives the sense that there was some real potential for a good crime solving mystery but it's spoiled by the fact that none of the secondary characters introduced in the first three quarters bear any relevance to the eventual outcome. They simply exist for the sake of existing, and to serve the contrived meeting of Michael and Isabel. Overall, the threads of the story don't prove at all cohesive. The characters' motives are weak and as a result the climax falls flat. The epilogue fizzled as it desperately tried to add some emotional weight to what ultimately proved to be a rather bland story. The best thing about this book is that it proved rather easy to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really loved this sweet love story. Quick read with great characters.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didnt find this to be anything special. All of the characters seemed so very bland.
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